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Raymond: "It's Time To Give Our Teenage Medium A Kick In The Balls"

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
News
Tags:
Development, Innovation, Jade Raymond, Pushing boundaries, Ubisoft, Ubisoft Toronto

Raymond: "It's Time To Give Our Teenage Medium A Kick In The Balls"

Ouch...

...but I agree with her.

Hot on the heels of declaring that the games industry as a whole needs to grow up, Ubisoft Toronto head Jade Raymond has called for big developers to start shaking things up, taking risks, and giving the industry the kick in the balls that she feels it needs.

"I am generation X and a parent now, so I don't think I am really the target market for games any more," said Raymond, chatting to Eurogamer. "We tend to think young people just want explosions. But I don't think it's true. Perhaps even less so than when we were children. I believe we are underestimating our audience by creating the same experience over and over again. We think that this is what they like but I think we are deeply mistaken.

"More and more people come to me at Ubisoft and say, 'I love games. I came into this industry with so many ideas. But I can't continue to make shooters over and over again. I'm not even in line with the messages.' I have that meeting a lot these days. Yeah, it's time to give our teenage medium a kick in the balls."

easy to say, less easy to pull off, and she acknowledges that profit margins are becoming slimmer, and triple-A titles have to be big, budget blockbusters. But that doesn't necessarily mean that untouched themes can't be factored into these games, and indeed Raymond suggests that it's the teams at the top of the pile who should be taking more risks.

"One thing I am certain of," she continued, "is that the creative teams who occupy the top spots in our industry should be taking the greatest risks. Activision has the recipe and all of the money. I'm like: 'You guys mess with it a bit!' [Laughing] I am going to get a phone call from Bobby Kotick now..."

And what of Ubisoft Toronto itself? Well, Raymond's view is that it's easier to innovate from within an existing franchise, alluding to innovation further on in the conversation as a "luxury", which might set alarm bells ringing ever so slightly.

"Yes, we definitely want to make games that innovate and make a difference. I firmly believe that you can innovate more within an existing franchise; you can take chances because you know you have the base that works. Like with the original Assassin's Creed, we had six ideas for innovation. One or two worked and others didn't. When you try to innovate on all fronts it can be too difficult whereas when you know you have a core part of the game that works, you can play with elements on the periphery. That gives you the luxury of innovating."

But balancing a studio that's due to expand its workforce from 200 up to 800, along with the six titles it's hoped to be able to develop simultaneously, such a cautious outlook is to be expected. Raymond's concerns aren't purely creative, and the bottom line is clearly in sight. But the message she's hopefully passing on to the creative directors under her wing in certainly an altruistic one.

"Ultimately, if we are not moving things forward then why are we working here? If you're going to create something then you have to go above and beyond what's gone before. It's the only way."

Let's hope we see those words put into practice.

 

Add a comment2 comments
Scoz0  May. 12, 2012 at 19:08

This girl works for a Ubisoft development team, the very definition of generic, bland and boring!

DivideByZero  May. 14, 2012 at 13:14

Still makes me chuckle when some people refer to Assassin's Creed as "grown up". It's just an action game... pure and simple. Nothing grown up about it.

But yeah, would be nice to mix things up and get some more grownup stuff on the market... whatever grown up games would be?

I'm sure once some other big companies start doing more mature games, Ubisoft will be only a couple of years behind... LIKE THEY ARE WITH EVERYTHING ELSE!

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